Comments and information about salaries at international schools on International School Community
Every week members are leaving information and comments on the salaries that teachers are making at international schools around the world. Which ones pay more? Which ones do you have to pay very high taxes? Which ones offer tax-free salaries? All important questions to think about when job searching, but where to find the answers to those questions?
Why do some international schools keep their specific salary information so secret? Even at international school job fairs, you don’t really get to see the exact amount of your yearly and monthly salary until you see the contract paperwork. Even then sometimes you don’t know what will be your exact take-home pay each month. At International School Community, we want to make the search for salaries easier for international school teachers. In the benefits section of the school profile page, there is a section specifically for salaries. The topic is: “Average monthly salary after taxes and in what currency (explain taxation situation). How often do you get paid throughout the year?”
Here are 3 out of the many comments and information related to salaries that have been posted on our website:
Harbin No. 9 High School International Division (Songbei Campus)
“18000RMB per month 2000RMB taken out in taxes each month. No receipt of this transaction is given as would be the regular accounting practice for a well run school. YOu may need a record of this when you leave the country.”
Copenhagen International School
“The taxes are around 40-45%. You get paid in 12 month installments. You always get paid on time. There are also payslips which are sent to you via email the day before you get paid. It is important to note your first year that your July salary will be severely reduced because of the vacation pay deduction. You will get this money back though if and when you decide to move on.”
International School of Helsinki
“The salary is paid in Euros. The taxes taken out are around 35%. The tax rate in Finland would make it difficult for a couple on a single salary.”
Check out the other comments and information about these schools on our website: www.internationalschoolcommunity.comcontinue reading
The journey to work is indeed an important one. The journey though is not so clear for international school teachers when they are looking for jobs at schools in cities/countries to which they have never been. So let’s share what we know!
One of our members, who works at the International School of Brussels (Belgium), described her way to work there as follows:
The International School of Brussels is located in a leafy suburb of Brussels and nestled along the ancient Forêt de Soignes which is filled with towering trees and a variety of paths. The school began in an old chateau (that is still referred to as “the chateau”) but has since expanded to fill a campus that has separate buildings for each division and a variety of facilities. Today, the chateau is the main physical symbol of the school and houses administration, human resources, admissions as well as key personnel such as the school’s director and team.
Arrival at the school takes many different forms. Some teachers have settled into local life and come by car while others take advantage of the free yearly transport pass and arrive by bus, metro or tram. The location of your home will determine the best form of transport. Many of the younger teachers prefer to live in the Ixelles area near the Flagey ponds where they are between the center and the school. From Flagey, they can catch a 366 TEC bus that takes them in 20 minutes to the doorstep of the school. Departure times during the school year are at 6:48, 7:30 and 7:50 am and teachers often sit together as they ride into school.
Another option from Ixelles or the other side of town in Woluwe St. Pierre is the 94 tram which is more convenient for some as it leaves more frequently but it does require a 10 minute walk to school (The 94 tram cars are brand new and feature leather seats, laminate wood flooring and easy accessibility). In the morning the walk from the tram stop at Delleur is a pleasant downhill stroll but in the afternoon, it can be a bit of a hike up. The tram can be a bit slower than a bus, but it conveniently leaves at regular intervals.
Some teachers also enjoy biking to school. There are marked paths along most major routes and this is a mode of transport that’s becoming more popular. While paths are marked, cyclists still need to be aware as drivers can sometimes get very close to the bike paths. Biking along Franklin Roosevelt takes you past some beautiful embassy buildings as well as some architectural gems from the Art Nouveau era in Brussels. There’s also an option to cycle on the winding roads that pass through the Bois de la Cambre, a serene manicured park on the edge of the city that connects to the more wild Forêt de Soignes.
An area of growing popularity to live in has been the town where the school is located, Watermael Boitfort. There is a lovely village and the walk to school is quick and pleasant. This is a nice option if you’re actively involved in coaching and need to arrive at school early in the AM or if you want the shortest commute possible and a chance to run home if you’ve forgotten something. Rent can be a bit more expensive in this area but the teachers who have moved there believe it’s worth it for the convenience.
Parking on campus is getting more tight but there’s generally always space if you come by car. Brussels is an easy city to own a car in. Expenses such as taxes and insurance are relatively low and gas is manageable if you’re mostly using the car for commuting. The school also offers financial assistance for kilometers traveled in lieu of the yearly Brussels transport pass as an option for drivers.
On a good day, I set my alarm for 6:15 so that I can leave my apartment in Ixelles with my car and arrive at school by 7 to get in a morning workout in the school fitness center. The fitness center has showers so if there aren’t too many teachers working out, I can sneak in a quick shower before walking to my classroom by 8:10 to prepare for the start of the day at 8:40. On a bad day (or after a late night), I can set my alarm for 7 and leave by 7:50 which gets me to school by 8:10 or 8:15. Campus security has been beefed up after the terrorist attacks a few years ago so entering by the large double gates sometimes takes a few minutes if there is a line up of cars. Most teachers are on campus relatively early and until the late afternoon so in the darker winter months, everything is well-lit. Some teachers stay later on campus taking advantage of faculty fitness classes or free language classes but others are just as eager to head out and try one of the many local beers.
This Journey to School article was submitted to us by guest author and International School Community member.
What to know more what it is like to visit and live in Western Europe? Out of a total of 298 international schools we have listed in Western Europe, 137 that have had comments submitted on them. Here are just a few:
Metropolitan School Frankfurt (60 comments)
Bilingual European School of Milan (31 Comments)
American International School of Rotterdam (45 Comments)
Skagerak International School (42 Comments)
AMADEUS International School Vienna (70 Comments)
International School of Paphos (105 Comments)
Copenhagen International School (316 Comments)
International School of Helsinki (41 Comments)
Berlin British School (31 Comments)
International School of Stuttgart (61 Comments)
So what is your journey to the international school you work at? Earn one year free of premium membership to our website if you participate in this blog series – ‘The Journey to School’. Email us here if you are interested.continue reading
Only on International School Community will you be able to search for the perfect international school for you. You get the possibility to search (using our unique search engine) for international schools based on the type of school that best fits your criteria. There are many different kinds of international schools: ones that are small in student numbers to ones that have more than 1200 students, ones that are for-profit to ones that are non-profit, ones that are in very large cities to ones that are in towns of only 1000 people, etc. Each international school teacher has their own type of school that best fits their needs as a teacher and as a professional. Your personal life is also very important when you are trying to find the right match. Most of us know what it is like to be working at an international school that doesn’t fit your needs, so it’s best to find one that does!
Utilizing the School Profile Search feature on International School Community, you can search our 1843 schools (updated from 1773 on January 2015) for the perfect school using up to 9 different criteria. The 9 criteria are: Region of the world, Country, City, Curriculum, School Nature, Number of Students, Age of School, Kinds of Students and Metro Population. You can do a school profile search in two different locations on our website: the Schools List page and on the side of every school profile page. Check out our past school profile search results here.
Search Result #16
The 16 international schools that met the criteria were found in 9 different countries and in 13 different cities. Here are a few that have had comments and information submitted on them:
International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments
American School of Milan (Milan, Italy) – 23 Comments
American Overseas School of Rome (Rome, Italy) – 5 Comments
Marymount International School (Rome) (Rome, Italy) – 7 Comments
International School Turin (Turin, Italy) – 15 Comments
Oslo International School (Oslo, Norway) – 17 Comments
Carlucci American International School of Lisbon (Lisbon, Portugal) – 22 Comments
International School of the Stockholm Region (Stockholm, Sweden) – 7 Comments
ACS International School – Hillingdon Campus (Hillingdon, United Kingdom) – 10 Comments
UWC Atlantic College (St Donat’s, United Kingdom) – 14 Comments
Why not start your own searches now and then start finding information about the schools that best fit your needs (available to premium members only)? Additionally, all premium members are able to access the 14309 comments and information (updated from 12936 on January 2015) that have been submitted on 864 international school profiles on our website.
*If you are not a member yet, join International School Community today and you will automatically get the ability to make unlimited searches to find the international schools that fit your criteria with a free 2-day trail of premium membership coupon code sent to you in your welcome email after joining.continue reading
We all hear about the big possibility of saving money while working at international schools, but the reality is that many of us don’t save much of any money. So, why aren’t these international school teachers saving money?
How NOT to save money when working as an international school teacher #6 – Spend tons of money during your trip back home
Of course you go back to your home country to spend time with your friends and family. It is important to go back at least once a year to see them in person and hang out like before you moved abroad. Even if you are able to Skype a lot with these people throughout the year, you can’t beat getting a hug from them in person!
We all know though that there is something else on our minds when we go back home…and that is shopping! We all have those go-to-stores that we must visit. If you are from the United States, then it might be Target. If you are from England, then it might be Boots. Finding time to do a bit of shopping in these stores is a must!
Maybe clothes are cheaper in your home country. Buy them!
Are some toiletries cheaper and are there brands that you can’t get in your host country? Buy them!
Did you bring an extra suitcase in your other suitcase just for putting the stuff you bought from your trip back home? Buy even more!
Now to food.
Food is extremely important when living abroad. One of the best parts of living abroad is trying the local products and food delicacies, but having a bit of the food from your home country around can be quite comforting.
Everyone has their own food that they want to buy and bring back to their host country. What one teacher might bring back, another teacher might say why. To each their own really. We all have those things that we want and that is how life goes as an expat.
But, the key is not to let your home country purchases get outta hand! “Oh, I’ll just buy one of these and two of those” one day. The next day you find yourself saying, “Oh, I better buy one more of each!” Purchase after purchase, the amount you spend goes up and up.
It is easy to get caught up in the mainframe of “well, I am only here one time a year, so I better stock up.” Though that is true, saying it over and over in your head can increase your purchases even more than you were expecting (not allowing your save your money as it were!).
How can you then keep your purchases under control? One key rule to keep in mind: only buy things that you for sure can’t already buy in your host country.
Is it true that the longer you live abroad, the less things that you buy when you go back home? Or maybe it is that you get smarter about the things you let yourself purchase. Some might say both of those statements are not true at all and that we are all subject to the temptation of buying products from our homeland when we go back for a visit and putting our savings plan on hold for a bit.
Happy shopping back home and bringing those items back to your home abroad!
We do have a comment topic on our website related to the theme of what food items you might want/need to bring to your new host country (don’t go overboard though!). It is in the city section of the comments and information tab on the school profile pages. It is called: Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites.
“There are almost no British/Australian/NZ/Canadian/American food items that can’t be found in Bangkok nowadays. Items from home tend to be expensive though, so you you may wish to pack a couple of jars of Marmite/Vegemite and your favourite tea bags.” – Rasami (Thai-British) International School (Bangkok, Thailand) – 11 Comments
“Sometimes, items are in abundance, and other times they are scarce, such as peanut butter.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 68 Comments
“We can get nearly everything. Rooibos tea is hard to find, but everything basic is easy to get.” – Qatar Academy (Doha) (Doha, Qatar) – 56 Comments
“There is a very large supermarket 5 minutes walk from the school. It has a wide variety of products. (Greater variety than Danish supermarkets)” – International School of Helsinki (Helsinki, Finland) – 30 Commentscontinue reading
· 04 Feb Yew Chung International School (Hong Kong) (8 new comments)
(Hong Kong, China)
“New teachers are placed in furnished quarters (in China). There is a housing allowance of 1200 USD for teachers in Hong Kong. Management fee for the housing is paid for by school. Teachers in HK will be housed in hotel for 2 months…”
· 04 Feb St. Andrew’s – International School of the Bahamas (7 new comments)
“There is a retirement plan offered. The school’s contribution is 7%…”
· 03 Feb Karachi American School (5 new comments)
“Due to visa restrictions, the school prefer hiring teaching couples with US certification. Due to new visa and tax laws US citizenship is a priority when the school is recruiting. Age limit for hiring is 55 years old…”
· 03 Feb Üsküdar American Academy & Sev Elementary (7 new comments)
“There is a masters/PHD stipend and a contract extension bonus…”
· Great resource: Maps of world website and information about international schools
“This website not surprisingly is an excellent resource for finding the map that best fits your needs, but it also oddly enough has some information about international schools.There are at least two sections that we found that highlight the international schools in specific locations around world. We would like to highlight…”
· Highlighted article: Mumbai’s new genre international schools
“Another issue with a resurgence of international schools is finding highly qualified teachers to work at them. Hiring international teachers can be a big business as well with sometimes many international schools fighting over to get first pick at finding suitable candidates…”
· Video highlight: A discussion about language learning and the second language learning of children at international schools
“How great to start off each day with the flag ceremony and the Thai National Anthem! Being that the majority of their students are Thai, they have a strong focus on honoring and respecting Thai and Asian cultural values…”
· Highlighted article: India’s most admired international schools
“It is challenging to come up though with the perfect second language acquisition environment in international schools. There are many factors that come into play…”
· Comments and information about salaries on International School Community #3 (Harbin No. 9 School, Int’l School of Helsinki & Cph Int’l School)
“18000RMB per month 2000RMB taken out in taxes each month. No receipt of this transaction is given as would be the regular accounting practice for a well run school. YOu may need a record of this when you leave the country…”
Teachers International Consultancy (TIC)“Have you ever wanted to teach internationally but struggled to know what school and what country would be best? Do you have questions about getting an international job? Well Teachers International Consultancy (TIC) is holding two one-hour webinars on Thursday 9th February to help teachers during their decision-making process. Both webinars will be run by Andrew Wigford, Director of TIC, who has over 20 years of international teaching experience. The first webinar focuses on finding the right international school and the right job. This will include information on the different types of international schools, their locations and the different curriculum options. Plus, there will be a question and answer session where you can ask Andrew any questions you may have. This webinar will take place at 5pm GMT on Thursday 9th February…”
Highlighted blog of an international teacher:
A few photos:
“Here’s a collection of photos we took the other day, on the roof of our apartment block. If you consider the size of our apartment and that there are two like that on each floor, it’ll give a real idea of the size of the space up there. There’s a few ISD families in this block, with young children; we’re figuring it’d be great to meet up for brunch on the roof during weekends…” Where shall we go?:
“I know we’ve only just arrived, but it’s time to start thinking about where to go on holiday. We’ve a week in October, a month at Christmas, and two weeks at Easter. So many places are relatively close, so we’re spoilt for choice. Only problem is it costs about $200 in exit taxes per person….”
*If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.
Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?
Our 11th blog that we would like to highlight is called “Tim Woods.” This international educator has much experience in the international school community, having worked at international schools in Canada, Costa Rica, Bahrain, England and Belgium. Check out the blog entries of this international school teacher who is now working at Overseas Family School Singapore in Singapore.
Entries we would like to highlight:
“My wife and I were recently grounded by ash from Iceland’s infamous volcano. The name of that beast, Eyjafjallajokull (sounds like “AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul” if you’re brave) is much funnier than the reality of it, I assure you. In our case, what should have been a short 2-hour flight from Helsinki to Brussels turned out to be 4 days of pacing in a cold airport and then a 47-hour combination of ferries, buses, taxis, trams and trains.
This photo journey idea is a another great idea! We all can relate to the traveling experience of going back and forth, back and forth to our home country. The feeling going back and then the different feeling of returning to your host country. Sometimes the journey goes smoothly, sometimes not! A journey of 4 days sounds like a nightmare indeed!
“Your job is not perfect. Me neither. We have hidden gifts you and I. First instinct, especially in the heady days of early January, is to re-evaluate and consider massive life changes. Have we in fact missed our calling? In a word: yes. But it’s an easier fix than you might think.
Have you ever heard the expression: “When you’re doing what you really love, it doesn’t feel like a job?” Do you know why this is true? It’s because when you’re doing what you really love you probably aren’t at work. Day jobs are sometimes less-than-totally fulfilling. They don’t normally appreciate or honour our full greatness. They normally can’t. (Because that’s not their job). They are not designed with us in mind, but rather with our clients in mind. But their imperfection doesn’t mean they are wrong for us. We accept their imperfections as they accept ours. And that’s not bad.
Non-jobs are an antidote to less-than-completely-fulfilling careers. They offer a fulfilling ‘third place’. A place, that is not our job and not our home-life, where we grow in the ways we crave.”
Yes, international school teachers are very keen to find the perfect job at the perfect international school at the perfect school so that they can feel a sense of meeting their goals with their career. If any of those things are not perfect, then you are more prone to thinking you have a job instead of a career at that school. Then it is true coming hiring season it just might be time to re-evaluate.continue reading
As all International School Community members know, each of the 2201+ school profile pages on our website has four comments and information sections: School Information, Benefits Information, City Information and Travel Information. Our members are encouraged to submit comments and information on one or all of these sections if they currently work at an international school or have worked at one in the past. It is important that we all share what we know so that we can in turn help other new teachers make a more informed decision before they sign any contract! *Additionally, for every 10 comments you submit (which are anonymous by the way), you automatically get one free month of premium membership added on to your account! The more comments you leave, the more free membership you get!
FOR UNLIMITED FREE MEMBERSHIP, BECOME A MAYOR OF A SCHOOL TODAY!
So, what are the recent statistics about the City Information sections on all the school profile pages? The current total number of submitted comments in the City Information sections is 6457 (out of a total of 40745+ comments); up 939 comments since January 2020.
There are 17 subtopics in the City Information section on each school profile page. Check out each one of these subtopics below and find out out the total number of comments in that specific subtopic and also an example comment that has been submitted there.
• Name your favorite restaurants, favorite places to go to and favorite things to do in the city. (720 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Going to check out and relax in the church that was made in rock (Temppeliaukio) is a great thing to do on a rainy (or sunny) day. They play relaxing music as you just sit in one of the pews and look up to see the copper-designed ceiling. So beautiful!” – Helsinki International School (Helsinki, Finland) – 41 Comments
• Locations in the city geared towards the expat lifestyle (grocery stores, bars, etc.). (585 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Taipa has a lot geared towards expat. The local Park’n’Shop grocery store is full of imported things.” – The School of the Nations (Macao, China) – 20 Comments
• Sample prices for food, transportation, average hourly rates for a housekeeper, etc. (599 Total Comments)
Example comment: “You could definitely get a good main dish at a nice restaurant for 6-8 EUR. The public transportation is free for the locals, but for tourists, it is .80 to 1.60 EUR a ride. Of course there are cheaper tickets, like days passes, etc.” – International School of Estonia (Tallinn, Estonia) – 22 Comments
• Detailed info about lifestyles: singles vs. couples, gay vs. straight, nightlife vs. quiet and big city vs nature. (485 Total Comments)
Example comment: “If you like riding your bike around everywhere, there aren’t always the best bike paths in the city. In turn, you need to be alert at all times! With regards to nature, there are super green parks spotted all around the city center. There is also the Wisla river has some “beach” areas where people hang out on a warm day. It is a bit smelly there, but still nice.” – American School of Warsaw (Warsaw, Poland) – 161 Comments
• Languages of the host city and the level of English spoken there. (616 Total Comments)
Example comment: “On a scale from 1 to 5, English level is somewhere around 3+. Not everyone speaks English, so knowing German is a big advantage.” – Zurich International School (Zurich, Switzerland) – 62 Comments
• Sample activities that you can do around the city? Including ones that you can do with a family (children)? (446 Total Comments)
Example comment: “During the summer don’t miss out on Treptower park with Badeschiff (not good for those with children). There is an artificial tropical island not far away from Berlin and many people take their kids there during winter, or to Wannsee during summer. Should you want to go and do the recreational swimming, Berlin Bade Betrieb is there for you on numerous locations.” – Berlin International School (Berlin, Germany) – 12 Comments
• Describe the city’s weather at different times of the year. (650 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Nov. 15 – March 15 is when the government heat is on in the apartments. That’s pretty much when temperatures are below freezing all the time. Over the weekend the weather changed to 5 – 10 degrees above freezing. Spring is about six weeks long. Then summer is hot.” – Tsinghua International School (Beijing) (Beijing, China) – 182 Comments
• Places, markets and stores where you can find really good deals. (312 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Walmart and Kalea (like Ikea) has just about everything you’ll need to set up house. El Martially in zona 14 sells used furniture but bring a Guatemalan friend to negotiate for you. You can also by hand-made furniture off the street very cheaply.” – The American International School of Guatemala (Colegio Maya) (Guatemala City, Guatemala) – 75 Comments
• Describe a funny culture shock moment that you’ve had recently in this city. (150 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Babies and toddlers with open butt pants and shorts are always fun to see pee all over the place. Trying to cross the street without getting killed is fun as well.” – QSI International School of Dongguan (Dongguan, China) – 64 Comments
• Where did the school take you in the city when you first arrived? What were some staff outings/party locations? (210 Total Comments)
Example comment: “When you first arrive, the school sets up a week-long itinerary. . .shopping at many shops, eating at a variety of restaurants. It’s one of the highlights of coming here. Many of the places seen during orientation are too expensive for people to return to often.” – The American School of Kinshasa (Kinshasa, Congo (DRC)) – 59 Comments
• What is the best part of living in this city for you? (315 Total Comments)
Example comment: “I love the ease of getting what you want, when you want.” – Hong Kong International School (Hong Kong, China) – 157 Comments
• What advice can you give on how to set things up like internet, phone, experience dealing with landlord, etc.? (270 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Internet’s been funky lately but that’s just the new reality in China at the moment. Nobody can do anything about it.” – Western International School of Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – 481 Comments
• Tell your experience moving your items to this city. What company, insurance policy, etc. did you use? (110 Total Comments)
Example comment: “SOS International is a popular choice and you can use it at their clinics here. It’s pricey, though.” – Orchlon School (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia) – 76 Comments
• Tell about your experience with the local banks and dealing with multiple currencies. (273 Total Comments)
Example comment: “Most local banks charge $10-$20 for an account. The government now also charges 10% of any fees charged by the bank. Most banks then charge you 1% to withdraw dollars, even if you have a dollar account. This is because their exchange rate is horrible, so people take out the money in dollars then walk to an exchange bureau and get a much better rate. IST has a few agreements in place so that the first $1000 a month does not get charged the fee. Other than that, the banks are okay. Nothing to write home about and you have to watch for random fees, but you can usually get it sorted. Some people just use overseas accounts and you can get money from the ATM, but people often find thousands of dollars missing from accounts when they do that.” – International School of Tanganyika (Dar es salaam, Tanzania) – 171 Comments
• What are some locals customs (regarding eating, drinking and going out, family, socializing, etc.) that you find interesting for expats to know about? (182 Total Comments)
Example comment: “When you receive something in person, from somebody else, it is best to take it using both hands, not just one. Do it with two hands to show respect and appreciation.” – Hong Kong Academy (Hong Kong, China) – 67 Comments
• Tell about your experiences in the local grocery stores. What can you get or cannot get? Which ones are your favorites. (233 Total Comments)
Example comment: “If you are from an Asian country I would suggest finding an H Mart. The Buford Highway farmers market has country specific named aisles with all of the countries. The Dekalb farmers market has a lot of unique fruits (think durian) and vegetables that you won’t find in a typical grocery store as well. All of these markets are worth a visit, especially the Dekalb Farmers Market (don’t go on a weekend!) and are huge.” – Atlanta International School (Atlanta, United States) – 31 Comments
• What is the most challenging/difficult part of living in the city? (301 Total Comments)
Example comment: “The Spanish spoken here is very difficult to understand. There is a lot of slang and people speak very fast.” – Santiago College (Santiago, Chile) – 72 Commentscontinue reading